Annalisa Piccirillo

Embodying Otherness: Nelisiwe Xaba's Fremde Tänze

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Keywords: Choreographic Resistance; Mimicry and Mockery; Nelisiwe Xaba.

'Outside', in the foyer of the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, where the audience is informally gathered and awaiting the show, Nelisiwe Xaba makes her appearance. Solemnly marching to the notes of Aida, the South African dancer, in a blond wig, wears, collar-like around her neck, a large circular tray upon which small desserts have been placed in the form of black human figures. The caricature mimed by this body-installation is fervid, with reference to the Cake walk: a dance organized and conducted by the slave servants to mock the mannerism of their aristocratic masters. The 'foreignness' of the piece is already set up, as well as Xaba's intention of playing on and challenging European audience expectation and modes of vision. With a firm gaze, she 'looks back', and invites the audience to join her into the theatre venue...

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